God is not displeased with my weakness. I am the one who can be self-criticizing, while He is speaking peace and total acceptance into my heart. I cover my spiritual ears with stubborn hands. He knows I am weak. He knows I need to learn to depend fully on Him. For a do-er, for an over-thinker this can be a challenge.
And yet, my Sweet Father is not disappointed in my weakness. My failings, fears, or questions. In fact, they stir His heart.
I once was a striver, the strong Christian girl on display that I thought others needed. (I wonder how many people I’ve turned away from God by my attitude of perfectionism.) I was not an example of what Jesus modeled in dependent relationship. I was worn out, weary, and aggravated at how hard life was for me. I was chaining myself to my burdens. And so many times the Lord would speak into my heart, gently leading me out of where I was, gently taking the burdens from my shoulders and placing them on His own.
At one of the hardest times of my life, while trying to go through an excruciating experience with my Christian head held high, I heard Him say, “You know, you don’t have to be strong for Me. Let Me be strong for you.” I’ve heard Him say, “You’ve always tried so hard. Rest in Me. Be still and remember that I am God – the One who made you because I wanted to love you and show Myself to you. I am the One who promises to always be there, the One you need for life, love, and peace – for wholeness. Learn to lean fully on Me, to let go. Therein you will find your freedom. I designed you to need Me.”
Designed for weakness? Blueprints for full dependence? What about “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me?” (Philippians 4:13) When I learned that verse I focused on the first five words. I was fully religious in my ability with a determination to get it right. As long as I focused on my performance, my eyes were not on that Jesus – whose shoulders carry the whole government of Heaven.
His is a Kingdom of those who learn to abide in Him – not strive to be enough. I was refusing the grace and trying to perform and earn what had been freely given. Me be vulnerable? Did I have to be?
I birthed two children in my life and they were helpless and needed everything – totally vulnerable, and I loved it! My mother’s heart was full for loving and caring for them. In the same way, God loves us – if we allow His embrace.
And He gives us others to love here – while we are having this human experience – so we can be givers and receivers of a love that is available because of Him! Every relationship can be giving, receiving, serving….if we let Him teach our hearts the beauty of humble vulnerability.
But we are so concerned that we won’t be loved enough, that we could be betrayed, and we build up a shield of our own self-protection that grows thicker with each passing year, much like the trunk of a tree, circle after circle that hardens and prevents us from not only fully giving and receiving human love, but from fully taking in the love of the Father.
Earlier this year, I kept feeling pain as if it were a liquid seeping out around a covering, like blood from a bandaged wound. I could think of no reason for the pain and asked the Lord about it. He told me it was old pain unhealed, and it was leaking out around the manhole cover I had placed over my heart. I could “see” it suddenly – the self-protection of years built up. He said that if I would ask Him to remove it, there would be a release of pain, but He would heal it.
I want all the healing I need, so I said, “Please forgive me for this self-protection, for not trusting You, and for being closed in part of my heart. Please remove this manhole cover so I can receive all of your love and all You have for me.”
It was like He said, but the freedom and fullness of breath that followed was something new and fresh. Made brand new – maybe even better that before – being restored. The Lord said that I would be more able to give and receive human love in the way He had intended, and He was right. I have had several battles with fear – some I’ve fought in prayer, some with a prayer partner, and some He said I didn’t need to fight at all – just hide in Him. I am finding Him faithful. After all, He cares more for my heart than even I do.
I still don’t care very much for that vulnerable feeling – whether with God or with people, but I am finding a whole new enjoyment to life, and at 52 years old. Don’t wait, friend, but fully yield all your pain when He reveals it. He finds you quite beautiful when you know you need Him. He loves to be the strong One.
My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness. ~2 Corinthians 12:9
She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future. ~Proverbs 31:25
(c) Robin Lawrimore, August 2012